Firefighters group issues tips for safe grilling

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As New Yorkers look toward nicer weather and Memorial Day weekend, many will be firing up their grills for the first time in months.

The Firefighters Association of the State of New York recommends that all New Yorkers follow some basic rules and tips to avoid accidents and injuries.

FASNY officials also urge everyone to never hesitate to call for help when needed. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 19,700 patients per year went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills.

Nearly half of the injuries were thermal burns, including burns from both fire and contact with hot objects. Grills alone were involved in an average of 8,900 home fires per year, including 3,900 structure fires and 4,900 outdoor fires.

“We want all New Yorkers to enjoy the warm weather outdoors, but we also want them to be safe. Keep an eye on your grill, your kids, and stay aware of your surroundings ,” said FASNY President John P. Farrell,  “We are here to help – no matter how big or small an incident seems. Don’t hesitate to call your local fire department because a few minutes can make a big difference.”

Children under age five accounted for an average of 2,000 or 39%, of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill parts or hot coals. It is also extremely important to keep the grill away from the house, flammable objects and in a location with low foot traffic to limit the risk of contact with the grill’s hot surfaces.

The following tips can keep everyone safe, the organization said:

-Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

-The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

-Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

-Keep the grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.

-Never leave your grill unattended.

-Always make sure the gas grill lid is open before lighting it.

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